OUR wish, hope, and aspiration to produce the future Zimbabwean Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon.com –size innovators and business icons. The founders of these global giants credit the Montessori method of their education fortheir success.
We already have the brains and the mantle here in Zimbabwe, and now we have the school!” said Dr Grace Mugadza, the Cambridge University educated, Founder and Co-director of The Troutbeck School.
In an exclusive interview with The Manica Post following a tour of the state-of-the –art school and boarding, director, Dr Edwin Davies said: “We have focused investment into this primary school aimed at offering the best in every sense including a high powered Montessori curriculum of Physics, Chemistry, Human Biology, Mathematics, Zoology, Botany, Physical Geography, Cultural Geography, History English Literature and English Grammar that heralds future ‘O’ Level subjects and success”
This primary school is an asset for the region and ultimately for highly ambitious parents of Zimbabwe who have an instinct for the best possible education for their children. The Montessori model of learning emphasizes catching learners early. With a natural learning environment, custom equipment and a trained graduate teacher, children as young as four can learn anything from physics and chemical science to human biology and the complex concepts of mathematics. From Charles Dickens and Mark Twain to William Shakespeare in English Literature, Montessori school children gain a head start on the rest.
At the Troutbeck School this is achieved using university graduate, Montessori trained teachers and dedicated European Montessori equipment, all integrated into a holistic primary learning environment with a teacher to child ratio of 1 to 12.This is the education model that created Larry Page and SergeyBrin, The co-founders of Google, and is espoused by Steve Wozniak (co-founder of APPLE).
The Montessori model, call it an ideal if you like, has provided an alternative scholastic method over the last 100 years, in over 22000 primary schools worldwide. The Montessori model is not aimed at the external use of teaching children skills or imparting knowledge through ‘correct use’ or memorisation for the test or exam. Rather, the aim is an internal one of assisting the children’s self-construction and psychic development by giving the child the freedom he or she needs to develop. Montessori educated children develop a life-long love of learning that enables then to become the innovators of tomorrow.
Some Montessori educated famous people include Larry Page and Sergey Brin (co-founders of Google), Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon.com), Jacqueline Kennedy Onnassis (former first lady of John F. Kennedy), Prince William and Prince Harry, Katherine Graham (ex-owner of Washington Post) and Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Nobel prize winner-Literature).
The Troutbeck School is located on the quintessential Hornbydale Estate. It is perched on a serene and peaceful mountain overlooking the magical or near heavenly beauty of the Troutbeck below. If you don’t want to call it a school, you can call it heaven on earth; one of the most pristine tourist environs of Troutbeck in Nyanga. The boarding facilities are a model of luxurious home-style living with the children exposed to fine dining, international cuisine and en-suite bathrooms. “The Montessori Philosophy dictates that we do no less than the very best for all our children here at The Troutbeck School. The learning environment is everything in the Montessori and that means t both the classrooms and the residential setting. We make sure our children absolutely love being here,” said Dr Grace Mugadza.
Hornbydale Estate, Troutbeck and Nyanga lend themselves naturally to the extra-curricular activities offered at The Troutbeck School such as golf, swimming, horse-riding and tennis. Other activities include music, grace and courtesy (etiquette); elocution and Peace studies (People skills).
Montessori emphasizes nature as a standard. Perhaps quite like John Dewey asserts, “Nature is supposed to furnish the law and end of development; ours is to conform to her ways.”
This means everything about Montessori Method for the learners, from core to extra curriculum activities, is one comprehensive outcome: complete life-long living, better methods of language study, substitution of things for words, social efficiency, personal culture, social service and complete development of personality, encyclopedic knowledge, discipline, esthetic contemplation and life-size utility.
At the Troutbeck School is university graduate and Montessori-trained Alice Dambanemuya, a natural child-charmer, she is both nurturing and firm while committed to the academic development of her pupils using the Montessori method.
This writer is committed to learning more about the Troutbeck School and the Montessori method of education, and to educate our valued readers about it by all means possible and available. It is a method squarely compliant with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s education transformation process driven by the current curriculum review proposed framework, namely to create a system of education whose outcome for learners aims at preparing them for work and life.